Bury it with its mother, if you must. You saved it, you look after it. Mad with bitterness, Gehn abandoned his mother with the baby, refusing to look or hold his son. As an infant, Atrus had pale blue eyes. The child stayed with Anna, living in a cleft in the side of a volcano in the desert. The caravans were the only glimpse he had of the outside world, he longed seeing them; day and night he dreamed about one time riding a camel and see the rest of the world.
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Shelves: fantasy , science-fiction , 3. Readers and writers of sci-fi and fantasy will often mention "worldbuilding": the process of developing a world that is different from the one we live in.
Atrus was raised by his grandmother, in an isolated dwelling in the desert. He spends his time studying the 3. He spends his time studying the environment, growing food, and generally being content with life until the day his father, Gehn, arrives to claim him as an apprentice. Gehn is obsessed with reviving a practice known simply as the Art: the writing of magical books that form portals to other worlds.
Atrus, however, has more questions than Gehn is willing to answer. Is the writer creating worlds, or simply creating bridges to worlds that already exist? And what responsibility does the writer owe to those who inhabit these worlds? Gehn uses his powers to play god, while Atrus uses his powers to try to repair the damage, causing the relationship between father and son to fray. Part of what made the game so addictive was the worldbuilding: by solving puzzles, you discover portal books that transport you to worlds that are eerie, enchanting, and mostly empty of other humans.
In that atmosphere of isolation, the slightest trace of any other character would make my heart pound. So, it was hard to resist a book about what those characters had been up to, but I was still skeptical about whether a book based on a videogame could possibly be any good. I was pleasantly surprised.
Character-wise, the contrast between Atrus and Gehn highlights different modes of learning and creativity. Gehn is all about rote learning and collecting pieces from pre-existing works, whereas Atrus is more concerned with uncovering underlying principles and looking at a system as a whole.
Finally, I really enjoyed the little twist on gender roles. Much of the book is about men engaged in manly activities of pioneering, engineering, and wrangling for power, while women play the role of caretakers, and are kept on the sidelines lest they get hurt. When we discover that these women are actually pioneers and engineers to at least the same extent as the men are, I pretty much clapped with glee.
The Book of Atrus
Background[ edit ] Myst co-creators and brothers Rand and Robyn Miller often created fictional worlds and stories as young children. Tolkien , Robert A. Heinlein , and Isaac Asimov ; Star Wars offered them a glimpse at an exciting, fully realized fictional world. Myst is the home of an explorer named Atrus , who lives on the island with his wife Catherine and two sons, Sirrus and Achenar.
Development[ edit ] When the first game in the franchise, Myst , was created, all the characters were created from footage of live actors. The actors were filmed on a bluescreen , then added to the pre-rendered backgrounds via chroma key. As a result, Cyan added more characters to the sequel, Riven. The video was then manipulated and used as a facial texture that was mapped onto the 3D characters. Cyan staff worried that the audio syncing for animation would not be finished in time for the E3 unveiling of the game, but were happy with the end results. Atrus addresses the player character as "my friend" in cutscenes.